Alumna Vivian Pickard Named Recipient of 2016 Honorary Doctorate Degree

Vivian PickardVivian Rogers Pickard, the director of General Motors’ Detroit Community Partnerships, will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree as part of Ferris State University’s Spring 2016 commencement ceremonies.

Pickard will address graduates during the Friday, May 6 commencement ceremony, which begins at 7 p.m. in Jim Wink Arena of the Ewigleben Sports Complex in Big Rapids. She is a 1977 graduate of the Human Services Administration program in Ferris’ College of Arts and Sciences, and received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. Pickard said that she is sincerely thankful to be recognized once again by the Board of Trustees.

“To be honored by an institution that helped to shape me, both personally and professionally, is probably one of the most rewarding gifts I could have ever received,” she said.

Board of Trustees Chair Paul Boyer said at the time of Pickard’s selection that she, and fellow alumni and 2016 honorary doctorate recipients Robert Hegbloom and Jeffrey Harrold were “extraordinary role models for all students, especially our graduating seniors, who are beginning their careers.” Pickard was commended by the trustees for her dedication as a community advocate and philanthropist in the southeast Michigan area.

Pickard has spent more than 35 years in vital roles in human resources, finance and public policy with General Motors, and became director of GM’s Detroit Community Partnerships last fall, following more than five years of service as president of The General Motors Foundation.

Her community advocacy efforts benefit such groups as Habitat for Humanity International, the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation and Fifth Third Bank Eastern Michigan, as well as other organizations.

Pickard’s leadership roles include being the immediate past-president of The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. and serving as an officer with the Detroit Economic Club. She was also named as one of the 50 most powerful African-Americans in southeast Michigan, and received the Spirit of the Dream award from the United Negro College Fund. Pickard also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Central Michigan University.

More than 1,700 graduates will participate in one of eight commencement ceremonies on May 6 and 7 in Big Rapids, as approximately 2,400 Ferris students complete their degree programs in the Spring 2016 semester. Pickard will address graduates of the College of Pharmacy, the College of Arts and Sciences and those receiving their Doctorate in Community College Leadership.

Read about other Spring 2016 honorary doctorate recipients:

News Click Jeff Harrold for more information.

News Click Robert Hegbloom for more information.


PHOTO CAPTION: Vivian Rogers Pickard, a 1977 graduate of Ferris State University’s Human Services Administration program will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from the university Friday, May 6. Pickard will address graduates of the College of Pharmacy, the College of Arts and Sciences and those receiving their Doctorate in Community College Leadership at their commencement ceremony.